Consumer Alert: Don’t Make a Move with an Illegal Company

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Before you turn over your worldly possessions to a moving company, ensure the mover is permitted through the state. Residential household goods moving companies that operate within Washington state are regulated and permitted by the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). A permitted company must comply with insurance regulations, safety requirements and consumer protection laws.

Before you turn over your worldly possessions to a moving company, ensure the mover is permitted through the state.

Residential household goods moving companies that operate within Washington state are regulated and permitted by the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). A permitted company must comply with insurance regulations, safety requirements and consumer protection laws.

Companies that operate illegally can now be shut down by the Washington State Patrol (WSP) if they are caught making moves within the state. A law passed by the Legislature in 2009, allows the UTC to place a regulated transportation company out-of-service through the WSP for safety violations, failure to pay penalties or for a violation of a cease-and-desist order. If an illegal mover is found conducting intrastate moves, the WSP can seize the vehicle and may charge penalties of up to $11,000 for each violation.

Before a customer even packs a box, he or she should first call the UTC and confirm the moving company has a valid permit. The customer can also find out how many consumer complaints have been filed against the company.

Legally permitted companies are required to include their UTC permit number in their advertising. When looking to hire a company, check for a valid permit number with a prefix of THG or HG, such as HG-555555.

Customers who have scheduled moves with an unpermitted company should contact the UTC immediately to avoid finding their belongings trapped on a seized vehicle or held hostage by a deceptive company.

The commission offers tips and a consumer guide for a safe move at http://www.utc.wa.gov/movingtips.

The UTC is the state agency in charge of enforcing consumer protection and safety regulations for more than 200 residential moving companies operating within the state. Movers are required to get a permit from the UTC, charge appropriate rates, carry proper insurance and keep their vehicles safely maintained. The commission does not regulate interstate moving companies.

Editor’s note: Consumers may check on the credentials of a residential moving company at http://www.utc.wa.gov/mover or by calling 1-888-333-WUTC (9882).

Washington Utiltiles and Transport Commission

1300 S. Evergreen Park Dr. S.W., P.O. Box 47250, Olympia, Washington 98504-7250
(360) 664-1160 TTY (360) 586-8203

Media Contact: (360) 664-1116 or media(at)utc(dot)wa(dot)gov

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